TEP employee Renee Darling regularly helps families work through the process of buying a home through Habitat for Humanity Tucson. On Saturday, she will set aside the paperwork to lead a group of mostly female coworkers to help build a house.

Darling will join about a dozen TEP volunteers at a local project that’s part of International Women Build Week, an event intended to encourage women to learn how to build homes. Men, too, get involved in the projects.

“I think women feel very empowered when they help at a build,” said Darling, Supervisor of Environmental and Land Use Planning for TEP.

TEP employees, friends and family members will join about 300 community volunteers in a project at Carters Court, a six-home community in the Flowing Wells neighborhood. This will be the 19th Women Build house in Tucson.

Darling has participated in previous Women Builds and other events, pulling weeds, raking and painting. This is the first time she has organized TEP’s group.

More often, she helps the organization as a family liaison.

In that role, she guides families from start-to-finish in the process of acquiring a home – setting their budgets, tracking their volunteer hours, attending classes and understanding their mortgages. On the day of closing, Darling gets to hand over the keys. Renee is now working with a family originally from the Congo – the fourth family she has assisted.

“Seeing the joy on their faces and knowing that I’m a little part of it makes me feel satisfied and happy,” Darling said.

This story is part of our ongoing series highlighting one of TEP’s philanthropic focus areas – community assistance. TEP works with non-profit partners to develop invitation-based donation requests for community assistance efforts from January-March. Funds come from corporate resources, not customers’ rates. Learn more about donations.

(Photo: TEP volunteers participate in a previous Habitat for Humanity event.)

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